Sade – Diamond Life (The ’59) #163

The ’59 2018 #163: 180612

Sade – Diamond Life (1984)

This year, Jem of Jemtunes, born in 1959, turns 59. So ‘The ’59’ celebrates 59 years of cracking tunes with a few albums from each year – 1959 through 2018. Currently we’re at year 26 – 1984

Diamond Life was Sade’s  debut studio album  released in the United Kingdom on 16 July 1984 by Epic Records and in the United States on 27 February 1985 by Portrait Records.

After studying fashion design, and later modelling, Sade Adu began backup singing with a band called ‘Pride’ which, with Paul Anthony Cook, Paul Denman and Stuart Matthewman became ‘Sade’. Following various demos and performances, Sade received interest from record labels and later signed to Epic.

Recording for the album began in 1983 at The Power Plant in London and took a total of six weeks to complete.

Upon release, Diamond Life was met with acclaim from music critics and went on to win the Brit Award for Best British Album in 1985. Commercially the album was a success charting highly in the UK and US,  It spawned four singles including the hit singles “Your Love Is King” and “Smooth Operator”.


Enigma – MCMXC AD (Epic 2017 #068)

The Epic 2017 Project #068: 170309

Enigma – MCMXC AD (1990)

MCMXC a.D. (“1990″ in Roman numerals followed by an abbreviation of Anno Domini) is the first studio album by the German music project Enigma, headed by Romanian-German musician Michael Cretu, released on 10 December 1990 by Virgin Records in the United Kingdom and on 28 January 1991 by Charisma Records in the United States.

Before he founded Enigma, Cretu had released several solo records, collaborated with various artists, and produced albums for his then wife, German pop singer Sandra. Following their marriage in 1988, Cretu developed an idea for a New-age music project named Enigma, and recorded MCMXC a.D. in eight months at A.R.T. Studios, his home studio located in Ibiza, Spain. It is one of the first albums recorded onto a hard disk drive. Cretu makes extensive use of Gregorian chants, dance beats, and flute sounds.

MCMXC a.D. received some criticism for its sexual and religious themes and connotations but it became a worldwide success, reaching the top 10 in ten countries, including the United Kingdom, and No. 6 in the United States where it sold over 4 million copies and stayed on the Billboard 200 chart for 282 weeks. Four singles from the album were released—”Sadeness (Part I)”, “Mea Culpa (Part II)”, “Principles of Lust”, and “The Rivers of Belief”. “Sadeness (Part 1)” topped the singles charts worldwide and remains Enigma’s most successful single.

Wildlife Festival


Wildlife Festival took place over the weekend of 6 & 7 June 2015 at Shoreham Airport, Sussex, UK. The biggest music festival to date in Sussex and one of the biggest in Southern England, it attracted 35,000 for headline acts including George Ezra, Rudimental, Annie Mac, Nas and Disclosure.


The site was huge; aircraft were grounded for the weekend and the fenced off area over the east-west runway included the main stage, two dance stages like the above built to resemble the art deco 1930’s airport terminus and two massive DJ set marquees.


Having a festival of such calibre right on one’s doorstep is a massive bonus; being able to walk from home through our town, across the river and into the grounds and hear and see a host of live music and thumping tunes is a second-to-none privilege which very few actually get to be part of. The queue for advance sale tickets back in a winter storm in January was well worth the wait.


There was so much to choose from that, on the Saturday, all we did was wander from dance tent to marquee to main stage and back, taking in a bit of this and a bit of that and simply soaking up the joy of being there. And in the sun!


Soul II Soul followed by George Ezra probably stole the show for the Saturday afternoon with similar glory going to Nas and Rudimental for the night time slots. However, the wind had got up by the time Nas came on so we were content to listen to his set over the air as we wandered back home to the warmth.


Annie Mac’s DJ slot early on Sunday evening  was sublime, capturing the spirt of the occasion and working the enthusiastic crowd admirably towards a crescendo warm up to the kingpin act of the weekend – Sunday night’s Disclosure.


And what a way to finish a totally stunning festival. Disclosure creamed it. With a light show to quite literally blow your mind and a series of guest performers, the DJ duo of Guy and Howard Lawrence took the enraptured crowd though a blistering set of old and new tracks, including at least half a dozen from their soon-to-be-released new album.


Classic albums A-Z: Massive Attack – Mezzanine (1998)



Mezzanine is the fourth studio album from Massive Attack. Released in April 1998 having been preceded by the menacing atmosphere of ‘Risingson’ in the autumn of the previous year. Mezzanine went on to become the band’s first number 1 album. Guest vocalists included Horace Andy, newcomer Sara Jay and Elizabeth Frazer of the Cocteau Twins. Mezzanine’s downbeat grooves features samples from ‘The Cure’, ‘Velvet Underground’, ‘Isaac Hayes’ and ‘John Holt’.

Liz Frazer’s vocal talents come to their own on the wondrous ‘Teardrop’ which deservedly reached number 10 in the UK charts in May 1998. ‘Teardrop’ may have been Mezzanine’s best-selling offspring but for me, it’s the building menace of the penultimate track – ‘Group Four’ which propels this album to ‘classic’ status over the preceding three (which I also have). Written by 3D, Daddy G, Mushroom and Elizabeth Frazer and featuring the vocal talents of both 3D and Frazer, this track has all the components needed to make my spine tingle every time – haunting lyrics, deep rolling bass, complex guitar undertones and repeating dub step percussion – building to an expected crescendo like a wave before slipping immediately into a whisper as the wave breaks and calm returns. Group Four is an eight-minute moment to savour!

Full track listing
  1. Angel
  2. Risingson
  3. Teardrop
  4. Inertia Creeps
  5. Exchange
  6. Dissolved Girl
  7. Man next door
  8. Black mik
  9. Mezzanine
  10. Group Four
  11. (Exchange)
  • Vocals – Horace Andy, Elizabeth Frazer, Sara Jay, 3D, Daddy G
  • Guitars – Angelo Bruschini
  • Bass guitars – John Harris, Bob Locke, Winston Blissett
  • Drums – Andy Gangadeen
  • Programmers – Neil Davidge & Massive Attack
  • Keyboards – Neil Davidge, Dave Jenkins, Michael Timothy
  • Sampling – Massive Attack
  • Pro Tools – Jan Kybert